From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 8 23:53:05 2021
“How displeasing to God are rash judgments! The judgments of the
children of men are rash because they usurp the office of Our Lord,
the just Judge. They are rash because the principal malice of sin
depends on the intention and the counsel of the heart, and these are
hidden things not known to human judges. They are rash because every
person has things that could be judged, and, indeed, on which one
should judge oneself. On the cross our Savior could not entirely
excuse the sin of those who crucified him, but he extenuated the
malice by pleading their ignorance. When we cannot excuse a sin, let
us at least make it worthy of compassion by attributing the most
favorable cause we can to it, such as ignorance or weakness. We can
never pass judgment on our neighbor.”
--Saint Francis de Sales
January 9th - St. Marciana
At the end of the 3rd century in Rusuccur, a small city in Mauritania,
Algeria, there lived a young lady called Marciana, as pious as she was beautiful. While very young, she consecrated her virginity to God, and abandoned everything to live in a cave near that Roman city.
One day, certainly moved by some divine inspiration, she left her cell
to walk among the agitated and restless multitude of that city, for
this was the time of the bloody persecution of Christians made by
Diocletian throughout the Roman Empire.
Entering the city by the Tipasia door, Marciana saw a marble statue of
the goddess Diana in the middle of a square. At its feet flowed clear
waters in a pool also made of marble. The brave virgin could not bear
the sight of that impure idol. She stepped forward and threw the idol
from its base, broke its head and smashed the entire statue into
A furious mob dragged her to the Pretorium before an imperial
magistrate. The Christian virgin laughed at the stone and wood gods,
and glorified the true God she adored. In loud, eloquent words, she
praised Him there in the Pretorium. The pagan judge handed her over to
the gladiators to be infamously abused at their pleasure. Marciana
remained fearless and serene. For three hours the gladiators were
rendered immobile by an unknown terror, and were unable to touch the
virgin. Through her prayers one of them converted and professed Jesus
Christ as the true God.
Confused by this development of events, the judge remained firm in his
hatred. Unable to dishonor the virgin, he condemned her to be torn to
pieces by wild beasts. When the hour arrived, she entered the arena as
to a joyful feast, giving praise and thanks to Jesus Christ. She was
tied to a stake and a lion was set upon her. The beast, however,
approached her, touched her with its claws, and then retired as though
moved by a stronger force.
In admiration, the populace called out loudly demanding that she be
set free. But a group of Jews who were part of the multitude, always
thirsty for Christian blood, changed the mood of the crowd by calling
for a wild bull. The beast gored the breast of Marciana opening a
terrible wound. The blood poured out and St. Marciana fell to the sand
in agony. Servants removed her from the arena, stopped the
hemorrhaging, and nurtured what little life remained to her.
The judge, however, called for her to be tied to the stake again. She
raised her eyes to Heaven, a smile illuminating her face marked by
suffering, and spoke her last words:
O Christ, I adore and love Thee. Thou wert with me in the prison and
kept me pure. Now Thou dost call me--O my Divine Master--and I go
happily to Thee. Receive my soul.
After she spoke these words, a ferocious leopard tore her apart,
opening the road of Heaven to her.
Comments of the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: (died 1995)
It is a most beautiful selection that deserves some comments from a
perspective different from the first that appears.
What we see at first sight is the spectacle of an extraordinary,
startling and miraculous heroism. Marciana was a hermit near a small
city in Africa during a time when Northern Africa was made up of Roman
colonies as Latinized as Eastern Europe. St. Marciana, as the name
indicates, was probably a Latin young woman. One day, touched by the
grace, she went to the city. She came across a statue of Diane,
goddess of the hunt, placed over a fountain in a public square. She
was overcome by a just ire against that idol, a symbol affirming a
religion opposed to the religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this episode, St. Marciana revealed a strength that is not natural.
The selection presents her as gracious and beautiful, which normally
supposes fragility in a woman. But she became strong enough to push
the idol from its base, separate the head from the body, and smash the
entire statue to pieces.
From a Roman point of view, this was a great crime. For a pagan, a
statue is not only a representation of the god, but the god itself.
They imagine the god is inside the idol, which is why they are called idolaters.
So, filled with a beautiful epic spirit, she pushed the idol to the
ground. The fragile, young, and recollected hermit went to the city to accomplish a task that strong Catholic men did not have courage to do:
she broke the idol into pieces.
Then, she stood before the tyrannical magistrate who, on behalf of
Emperor Diocletian, was condemning all Catholics to death. She faced
death with serenity. Here also she gave a demonstration of the
strength of God.
Next, the magistrate handed her over to the gladiators, persons of the
lowest level, to abuse her as they so desired. Something truly
incredible happened. She loved virginity above all else on earth, yet
she remained serene in that distressing situation. For three hours
those men strong enough to do whatever they liked were rendered
immobile and could not approach her. A mysterious force prevented
them. One of these gladiators converted, confirming the supernatural
presence of God.
Then, the judge condemned her to be killed by wild beasts in the
arena. A lion approached her, but only touched her and then walked
away. It was yet another intervention of God. The populace felt this
and called for clemency. But the Jews, always experts in maneuvering
public opinion, created an agitation that moved the fickle crowd from
clemency to anticipation for another spectacle. They called for a bull
to enter the arena against her.
What pagan ferocity did not achieve, Jewish perfidy managed to do. God
defended St. Marciana against the former; He did not defend her
against the Jews. With a strong blow the bull gored her. The purple
blood of that maiden gushed abundantly from the wound. Some tried to
save her, but to no avail; a leopard was released and it killed her.
She died joyfully, calling out the name of God Our Lord and announcing
her entrance into Heaven.
This is what one sees at first glance in the episode.
If you have the courage to imitate Mary Magdalene in her sins, have
the courage to imitate her penance!
--St. Padre Pio
No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and
His love is perfected in us. (1 John 4-12)
The fruit of the cross
How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate!
In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of
paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste.
The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light.
This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for
--Theodore of Studios